Where to find real coffee in Jacksonville.

Today I went to Starbucks to get coffee at lunch time. It was terrible. The place looks and smells just like any other corporate restaurant chain, and the coffee and food taste like it.

Their pastries are not local, nor fresh. They are mass-produced somewhere and shipped to every single US Starbucks. They contain ingredients like xanthan gum, soybean oil, stabilizers and dough conditioners, which are typical of processed foods.

And they have absolutely no idea how to brew a decent, real cup of joe. Try it. Ask for black coffee. No sugar, no cream to mask the flavor. Just pure black coffee. Taste it. It tastes burnt and sour. And super-incredibly hot, since it just came out of the machine. 

Starbucks may have originally introduced the notion of good coffee to the masses. But no matter how many cups Starbucks is able to brew these days, their coffee has no unique flavor or aroma. Who cares about each individual cup, when so much of it is produced in so little time?

Actually, some people really do. If you can resist the temptation to go to the nearest, easiest corporation joint around, head to Pulp, in San Marco. They will make you a real cup of coffee. They use Chemex coffee makers, which means that the entire coffee making process is manually done. The water is carefully dripped over the coffee beans, and produce one beautiful cup of coffee at a time. They use locally roasted organic coffee, and have different varieties available for you to choose from. 

I had the Sweetwater Sumatra 2 days ago; it was incredibly aromatic, and had a beautiful smooth taste. No hint of burnt or sour flavor. Pulp will also make your coffee in a french press if you'd like. Both the french press and drip are excellent.

Cool Moose Cafe, in the Riverside neighborhood, also serves Sweetwater coffee, along with fresh blueberry muffins in the mornings... and for those of you looking for a good cup of joe in the Gainesville area, check out Volta Coffee.

If you'd like to purchase Sweetwater coffee to make your own great brew, you can find it locally both at Grassroots Natural Market, and at Native Sun.

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